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President’s Words

The life of a prisoner whether ‘convicted’ or just ‘accused or under-trial’ leave irreparable injuries and undesirable situations to them along with their families, innocent children, parents, relatives and friends. Being in prison brings many social stigmas, indignity, economic hardships and human rights violation in their family especially if belonging to the marginalized groups.
The vulnerability, suffering and the deprivation of human rights in prisons has actually pushed us to form VARHAD.
The fundamental objective of the VARHAD is to sensitize the nation towards the plights of the prisoners, and stop the breeding of the crime by bringing joy, hope and opportunities within dark prison walls by caring for the prisoners’ families as well as by guiding the marginalized youths for education and career opportunities. Our dedicated and experienced team of VARHAD is in continuous efforts for the cause improving the lives in the prisons especially for women and children along with youths developments in the field of education and their skill development.

The two core target groups to rescue and develop in the prison for our team are women and children. We work for the rehabilitation and development of imprisoned under-trial mothers, being a victim of violence of different kinds, abuse and abusive language in male-dominated Indian society. For children, we work in a very serious way along with our endeavour to reform the accused as well. In spite of working in a very complex field, our positive-thinking and professional teamwork have been driving us as a force, which has resulted in the positive transformations of even hard-core criminals into living a decent life with their families & children.

With a noble aim that to be in jail doesn’t stop anybody to attain the basic human rights of their necessity and development, we have initiated many schemes for the prisoners related to their development in the field of education, social, psychology, physic and economy. In these schemes, the much popular is to provide primary education (at least till class fourth), vocational training for prisoners and their families within prison walls, regular movie/cultural shows for their entertainment and sports activities. As a matter of fact, VARHAD doesn’t dissociate after their release from the prison but keeps its relation intact lifelong by providing them help in their reintegration with the society through our self-sufficient Rehabilitation Centre.

All the above noble activities would not be possible to do so efficiently without those sponsors who have extended their help for this cause and provided unconditional support to VARHAD in a consistent manner since more than a decade. In a very special mention, my sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude is for the Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust (SDTT) and JRD Tata Trust (JRDTT). Without their financial support and faith, none of our initiatives would have resulted in successful outcomes. Other than the financial support from our kind sponsors, a matter of great satisfaction and stimulation is the yearly flow of hundred of appreciation letters which we received from our team.

Our constant lobbying for prisoners’ rights with the government agencies have also brought many achievements at the policy level change in our credit. Your valuable comments, suggestions, reflections, and queries and feedback regarding any aspect of our work would be highly appreciated and acknowledged by us.

In the last, I request you to bestow your continuous faith and support.

Ravindra B. Vaidya is President of the VARHAD and an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.